With an illustrious history dating back to the 11th century, Inverness Castle is best known for its role in the legendary Shakespeare tragedy ‘Macbeth’, featuring in the play as the location of Duncan’s murder. Looming over the city center, the castle is one of Inverness’ most prominent landmarks, set on a hilltop overlooking the River Ness.
The castle’s present day structure dates back to 1836, an imposing Neo-Norman red stone fortress designed by architect William Burn and still surrounded by part of its original bastion wall. Today, the castle houses the Inverness Sheriff Courthouse and County Hall, and although the offices are not open to the public, exploring the castle grounds is a popular activity for both locals and tourists, affording expansive views over the city sights and along the River Ness.
With its imposing Gothic facade presiding over the west bank of the Ness River, St Andrew’s Cathedral is one of the most striking of Inverness’ many churches. Constructed in the 19th-century to a design by local architect Alexander Toss, the cathedral, often simply referred to as Inverness Cathedral, is the seat of the Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness and remains one of the city’s principal places of worship, with regular Sunday services held.
The cathedral’s design, characterized by its eye-catching pink sandstone and dominated by a pair of square Gothic towers flanking the entrance, has polarized public opinion, with many noting its lack of spires – omitted from the original design due to lack of funds - as its downfall. Despite this, the cathedral boasts a number of notable features including an exquisite series of stained glass windows and a magnificent choir fashioned from Austrian oak.
Looking down on the city from St Michael’s Mount on the banks of the River Ness, the historic Old High Church is the oldest church in Inverness and famed as the seat of the first congregation in Inverness, with roots dating back to Celtic times. Legend has it that St Columba of Iona, the Irish monk who introduced Christianity to Inverness, once preached from the hilltop on the very spot where the church stands today.
Despite its Celtic roots, the present church building mostly dates back to the 18th century, although parts of the Bell tower from the 14th century remain, and is notable for its restored Willis Organ and Iona marble chancel. Along with its long history of worship, the church was also used as a prison and execution ground after the Battle of Culloden in 1746. Regular Sunday services are held in the Church year round.
Yes, it's Scotland's deepest loch. And yes, it has its own brooding Highland charm. But without the fable-or-fiction mystique of the Loch Ness monster, this would be just another picturesque stop on the Scottish nature trail. As it is, Nessie continues to pack them in.
The legend of the Loch Ness Monster in the Scottish Highlands is often regarded as a myth, despite anecdotal sightings and reports of a giant sea-serpent or dragon inhabiting the waters of the Loch. The first photograph of the Loch Ness Monster was published in 1933, while a sonar reading in 1954 seemed to confirm the presence of some kind of underwater creature.
Although the BBC's definitive search in 2003 with 60 sonar and satellite trackers seems conclusive, it’s probably best to visit the waters of the loch and decide for yourself whether Nessie exists and if she is still alive. Visit the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre at Drumnadrochit for a comprehensive look at the phenomenon.
Most visitors to The Isle of Skye tend to stick to the beaten track, but it won’t take you long to explore your own favourite part of this paradise.
When the sun's out Skye is enchanting, with its vivid blue lochs, seas glittering in the light and its green crags glowing. If it rains, Skye has an eerie beauty that is best viewed from inside a nice cosy pub.
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